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MORE UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS—1. 1. Its doctrine. Probably that heading would be more intelligible unto most of our readers had we employed the plural number. As a matter of fact, it is at this very point that its uniqueness first appears. Error is diverse and multiform, but Truth is harmonious and one. Scripture speaks of “the doctrines of demons” ( 1 Timothy 4:1) and “the doctrines of men” ( Colossians 2:22), which are “divers and strange doctrines” ( Hebrews 13:9), but whenever it refers to that which is Divine, the singular number is always used. Thus “the doctrine” ( John 7:17; Timothy 4:16), “the Apostles’ doctrine” ( Acts 2:42), “sound doctrine” ( 1 Timothy 4:1), “good doctrine” ( 1 Timothy 4:6), “the name of God and His doctrine” ( 1 Timothy 6:3). Yet, like a single diamond with its many facets or the rainbow combining all the colors, the doctrine of God has numerous and distinct aspects, which to our finite minds are best apprehended singly. Nevertheless, they are not like so many separate pearls on a string, but rather resemble branches growing out of a single tree. What we term “the doctrines of grace” are only so many parts or phases of the revealed favor of God unto His people.
The more time one devotes to a prayerful and diligent perusal of “the doctrine of Christ” (2 John 9), the more will he perceive not only the spiritual excellence of each of its parts, but also their perfect harmony, their intimate relation to one another, and the mutual furtherance of all unto the same end. It is ignorance of the whole which lies behind the supposition that any one part conflicts with another. It is designated “the doctrine which is according to godliness” ( 1 Timothy 6:3), for when truly believed it produces and promotes piety. It is a mold into which the mind is cast and from which it receives its impress ( Romans 6:17, margin). An observing eye will easily perceive that a distinct spirit attends different religions and different systems of the same religion which, over and above natural temperament, stamps their respective adherents. Thus it was at the beginning: those who received “another Gospel” received with it “another spirit” ( 2 Corinthians 11:4), and hence we read of “the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” ( 1 John 4:6). Scripture doctrine produces holiness of character and conduct because it proceeds from the Holy One.
It would require a whole volume to do justice to this argument and illustrate it at length. The doctrine of the Godhead is unique. That God must be one is an axiom of sound reason, for there could not be a plurality of supreme beings. But that God should be one in His essence or nature, yet three in His Persons, is something which mere reason could never have discovered. That God is Triune, a trinity in unity, transcends infinite intelligence, and therefore never originated therefrom. That it is clearly set forth in the Bible evinces its verity. The doctrine of federal headship is peculiar to Divine revelation. That one should legally represent the many, that the many should be dealt with judicially according to the conduct of the one, is a truth which has no place at all in any human religion. Yet the Bible teaches explicitly that the guilt of Adam’s transgression is reckoned to the account of all his natural descendants, so that because of it they stand condemned before God—a thing far too unpalatable for human invention. The merits of the obedience of the last Adam is reckoned to the account of all His spiritual seed, so that they are all accounted righteous before God—something far too wonderful to be of human contrivance.
The doctrine of Divine grace is equally unique. It is a truth peculiar to Divine revelation, a concept to which the unaided powers of man’s mind could never have risen. Proof of this is seen in the fact that where the Bible has not gone, grace is quite unknown. Not the slightest trace of it is to be found in any of the religions of heathendom, and when missionaries undertake to translate the Scriptures into the natives’ tongues, they can find no word which in any wise corresponds to the Bible word “grace.”
Grace is something to which none has any rightful claim, something which is due unto none; being mere charity, a sovereign favor, a free gift. Divine grace is the favor of God bestowing inconceivable blessings upon those who have no merits and from whom no compensation is demanded. Nay, more— grace is exercised unto those who are full of positive demerits.
How completely grace sets aside all thought of worth in its subject appears from that declaration, “being, justified freely by His grace” ( Romans 3:24); that word, “freely,” signifies “without a cause,” and is so rendered in John 15:25—justified gratuitously, for nothing!
Grace is a Divine provision for those who are so corrupt that they cannot better their evil natures; so averse to God they will not turn unto Him; so blind they perceive not His excellence; so deaf they hear Him not speaking unto them; so dead spiritually that He must open their graves and bring them forth on to resurrection ground if ever they are to be saved. Grace implies that its object’s condition is desperate to the last degree: that God might justly leave him to perish—yea, that it is a wonder of wonders He has not already cast him into Hell. That grace is told out in the Gospel, which is not a message of good advice, but of good news. It is a proclamation of mercy, sent not to the good, but to the bad. It offers a free, perfect, and everlasting salvation “without money and without price,” and that to the chief of sinners. To the convicted conscience, salvation by grace alone seems too good to be true. Grace is God acting irrespective of the sinner’s character, not as a Demander but as a Giver—to the illdeserving and Hell-deserving—who have done nothing to procure His favor, but everything to provoke His wrath.
There are other portions of doctrine taught in the Scriptures which by virtue of their very transcendency indicate their Divine source, as, for example, that of the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. It is a dictate of sound reason that if God be God—God in fact as well as in name—then He must have full control of all His creatures and regulate their every action in subservience to His own glory. It is equally selfevident that if man be created a moral agent, he must be endowed with the power of choice, and as such, be answerable unto God for all his volitions.
So teaches the Bible: on the one hand that God is working all things after the counsel of His own will, not only in Heaven but also “among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay His hand” ( Daniel 4:35); and on the other that “every one of us shall give account of himself to God” ( Romans 14:12). Yet no human intellect is able to explain how that responsibility of man consists with the fact that God has eternally predestinated his every action and infallibly directs the same without the least violence to his will.
The same seeming paradox appears in the doctrine of man’s spiritual impotence and accountability: that the fallen creature is in such complete bondage to sin that he is incapable of performing a spiritual act, yea, of originating a spiritual desire or thought, and yet is justly held blameworthy for all his moral perversity and impiety—that none can come to Christ except they be drawn ( John 6:44), yet are condemned for not coming to Him ( John 3:18). So, too, the doctrine of particular redemption: that Christ acted as the Surety of and made atonement for the sins of God’s elect only; yet that the Gospel makes a free and bona fide offer of salvation unto all who hear it. In like manner, the complementary doctrines of the saints’ preservation by God and the imperative necessity of their own perseverance in faith and holiness—that no child of God can perish eternally, yet that he is in real danger of so doing as long as he is left in this world. Such things appear to be utterly inconsistent to human reason, which is sure evidence that no impostors, would have placed so much in the Bible as is foolishness to the natural man.
Another unmistakable hallmark of the genuineness of the several branches of the doctrine of Holy Writ is the manner in which they are set forth therein. They are not presented as so many expressly defined articles of faith or items of a creed. There is no formal statement of the doctrine of regeneration or of sanctification: rather are there many brief references to each scattered throughout the whole of the sacred writings. They are introduced more incidentally than systematically. Instead of being drawn up as so many propositions, they are illustrated and exemplified in the practical history of individuals. So different from man’s method, yet characteristic of the ways of God! Man reduces botany to a system, but the Creator has not set out the flowers and trees in separate beds and fields according to their species, but has distributed them over the earth in beautiful variety. In like manner, He has not gathered into one chapter the whole of any one truth, but requires us to search and collate the numerous references to it, which are mingled with exhortations, warnings and promises. God’s Word is addressed not only to our understanding but to our conscience, and no doctrinal statement is made without some practical end being answered.
Another striking feature of Biblical doctrine is its orderly presentation. As in the processes of nature, so there is a gradual unfolding of each particular doctrine. The diligent student will find that every vital truth made known in Scripture is seen first in the blade, then in the ear, and then in the full com in the ear. Thus, for example, with the Messianic prophecies: the germinal announcement in Genesis 3:15, the fuller revelation in Isaiah 53, the complete fulfillment in the New Testament. So with God’s justifying of a sinner: briefly hinted at in Genesis 15:6, more plainly disclosed in Psalm 32:1,2, fully expounded in Romans 4. The Bible is more than a book: it is a living organism, growth marking all its parts.
All through Scripture there is seen a systematic advance in the communication of Truth. In Genesis, the basic doctrine repeatedly exemplified is that of election; in Exodus, redemption by blood and power; in Leviticus, the chosen and redeemed are brought nigh to God as worshippers. Then the complementary side of things is set before us: in Numbers, our passage through this wilderness-world; in Deuteronomy, the enforcing of responsibility. While in Joshua we behold the people of God entering into and enjoying their heritage. What unmistakable progress is there! The same feature marks the New Testament. In the Gospels, Christ accomplishing the work of salvation; in Acts, the proclamation thereof; in the Epistles, salvation experienced by the members of His mystical Body; in Revelation, the saved in Glory around the Lamb. Such progress demonstrates both the unity of Scripture and continuity of its inspiration.
Behind all the varied penmen is one Author working according to a definite plan. 2. Its precepts. This is another aspect of our many-sided subject which deserves as many separate chapters as space requires us to condense into paragraphs. At no other point does the heavenly origin of the Bible appear more plainly than the exalted standard it sets forth and the conduct it requires from us. Therein it is in marked contrast with the writings of all who oppose the Bible. Infidels and atheists have no ethical standard, yea, their code is utterly subversive of all morality. So too it differs radically from the teaching of the best of the ancient moralists and philosophers.
They far surpass the most celebrated maxims of the sages and religionists, and immeasurably transcend the best statutes of all human legislation. The Divine precepts embrace every relation and duty, and not only prohibit all evil but promote all virtue. They reprehend practices which all other systems approve or tolerate, and inculcate duties they omit. The laws of man reach no farther than human action, but those of God the fountain from which all actions proceed. If the laws of God were universally obeyed this earth would be a scene of universal peace and good will.
The world approves of ambition, the eager pursuit of wealth, fondness of pleasure, and in many instances applauds pride, ostentation, contempt of others, and even the spirit of revenge—whereas the precepts of Scripture condemn all of those in every form and degree. They require us to renounce the world as a source of happiness and to set our affection upon things above ( Colossians 3:2). They repress the spirit of greed: “having food and raiment, let us be therewith content” ( 1 Timothy 6:8). “Labour not to be rich” ( Proverbs 23:4); “lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth” ( Matthew 6:19); and warn that “the love of money is the root of all evil.” They bid us “lean not unto thine own understanding.. . be not wise in thine own eyes” ( Proverbs 3:5,7), and prohibit all self-confidence: “he that trusteth in his own heart is a fool” ( Proverbs 28:26). Not only do they reprehend the spirit of revenge ( Romans 12:19; 1 Peter 3:9), but they enjoin upon us, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use and persecute you” ( Matthew 5:44).
Such precepts as those never originated in any human mind, my reader.
Many of them are entirely against the bent of nature: as “rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth” ( Proverbs 24:17); “If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat” ( Proverbs 25:21); “In honor preferring one another” ( Romans 12:10); “let each esteem each other better than themselves” ( Philippians 2:3).
None others so “holy, just and good” ( Romans 7:12). Such statements as the following were never devised by man: “When thou doest thine alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: that thine alms may be in secret” ( Matthew 6:3,4). “Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” ( 1 Corinthians 10:31); “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another” ( Ephesians 4:31,32). “Giving thanks always for all things unto God” ( Ephesians 5:20); “Rejoice evermore” ( 1 Thessalonians 5:16). “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect” ( Matthew 5:48).
The only objection which an Infidel could bring against the precepts of Scripture is that such an exalted standard of conduct as they inculcate is manifestly unattainable by imperfect creatures. That is readily admitted, yet so far from making against them, it only serves to exhibit the more clearly the design and wisdom of their Divine Author. In requiring from fallen creatures that which they cannot perform in their own strength, God does but maintain His own rights, for our having lost our original power does not release us from rendering to God that fealty and honor which is His due. Moreover, they are admirably designed to humble us, for our unsuccessful attempts to meet their demands make us the more conscious of our infirmities, and thereby pride is abased. They are intended to awaken within us a personal sense of dependence upon Divine aid. Where there is a genuine desire and endeavor to obey those statutes, they will be turned into earnest prayer for help—nor will assistance be denied the seeking soul.
Thus, the seeming foolishness of God is seen to surpass the feigned wisdom of man.
One other remarkable feature about the precepts of the Bible calls for a brief notice, namely, the motives by which they are enforced. No appeal is made to vanity, selfishness, or any of the corrupt propensities of our nature. Obedience to them is urged by no consideration of what our fellows will think or say of us, nor how we shalt further our own temporal interests. Rather are the animating motives drawn from respect to God’s will, hope of His approbation, concern for His glory, gratitude for His mercies, the example that Christ has left us, and the claims which His sacrifice has upon us. Christians are bidden to forgive one another because God has for Christ’s sake forgiven them ( Ephesians 4:32). Wives are called on to submit themselves unto their own husbands as the Church is subject unto Christ, and husbands to love their wives “even as Christ also loved the church” (Ephesians 5). Servants are required to be obedient unto their masters in singleness of heart “as unto Christ” ( Ephesians 6:5), while their employers are to act toward their servants in the knowledge, that they also “have a Master in Heaven” ( Colossians 4:1). Christ’s commandments are to be kept out of love to Him ( John 14:15). How radically different are such inducements as those from urging that which will win the esteem of our fellows! Not that which will promote our own temporal interests, but what “is right” ( Ephesians 6:1) is that which the Holy Spirit presses upon us.
A final word to the preacher: The solemn fact is that every unsaved hearer is “dead in trespasses and sins” ( Ephesians 2:1), devoid of any spiritual perception or sensibility, incapable of any spiritual action—such as evangelical repentance and saving belief of the Gospel. Nothing short of a miracle of grace can bring a lost soul from death unto life, and nothing but the almighty and invincible power of God can accomplish the same ( Ephesians 1:19). It therefore follows that neither your faithfulness nor your earnestness can, of itself, save a single sinner: you will simply be “beating the air” unless the Holy Spirit is pleased to graciously accompany the Word with power and apply it to the heart of your hearer. None but the blessed Spirit can effectually convince of sin, and bring an unsaved person to realize his desperate condition and dire need. Even the Word itself only becomes “the Sword of the Spirit” as He wields it, and we cannot warrantably look unto Him to do so if we grieve Him by using fleshly means and worldly methods. It is unbelief in the imperative necessity of the Spirit’s operations which has caused so many churches to descend to the level of the circus, and evangelists to conduct themselves like showmen.
Humbly seek His presence and blessing, and trustfully count upon the same. 3. Its promises, which hold out the highest felicity of which man is capable.
There is a natural instinct in the human heart after happiness, yea, after eternal happiness; yet instead of looking unto God for the same, the unregenerate try to find it in the creature. They fondly imagine that satisfaction is to be obtained in things visible, that it is to be found through the medium of the senses. But in vain do they gratify their bodily lusts: material things cannot satisfy the longings of an immaterial spirit. The springs of the earth are unable to quench the thirst of the soul. Wealth does not, for the millionaire is still a stranger to contentment. The honors of the world are but empty baubles, as their securers quickly enough discover.
The eager devotees of pleasure find there is no real happiness in any form of amusement. Serious souls are at a loss to know where to look for that which will reward their quest. “There are many that say, Who will show us any good?” ( Psalm 4:6): they neither know what it consists of, nor where it to be found.
Hence it is that the Lord says unto them, “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear and come unto Me: hear and your soul shall live” ( Isaiah 55:2,3).
God has “shown” what substantial and lasting “good” consists of, and where it is to be obtained. He has made known the same unto us in the wondrous and blessed promises of His Word: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit” ( 1 Corinthians 2:9,10).
This is yet another of the many excellencies of the Bible: that its promises set forth the greatest happiness of which we are capable of enjoying. The One who gave us being is alone capable of putting real gladness into the human heart. That gladness comes to us not through the delights of sense, but consists in communion with the One who is the sum of excellence.
The promises of Scripture are the assurances which God has given us that He will bestow the best of blessings, for this life and also for the life to come, on those who seek them in the right spirit and comply with their terms. From the many hundreds which are scattered throughout the Bible we can but single out a few specimens. The sum of them is that the soul of man shall delight itself in God Himself as its everlasting portion. But that is impossible until the guilty conscience has been pacified, and that can only be through the knowledge of His forgiveness of sin. Therefore we begin with the evangelical promises which are addressed unto sinners. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” ( Isaiah 55:7). “Come unto Me [Christ] all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” ( Matthew 11:28) —peace of conscience, rest of soul, joy of heart. What precious promises are those! They are the promises of Him that cannot lie.
God has solemnly pledged Himself to bestow a free, full and eternal salvation upon every penitent sinner who comes to Him as a beggar and relies upon His Word. Not only to blot out all his iniquities, but to clothe him with the robe of Christ’s righteousness, to receive him as a son, and to henceforth supply his every need. He has promised to be “a sun and shield” unto all such, to “give grace and glory,” and that “no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly” ( Psalm 84:11). The promises of Satan are every one of them lies, those of man unreliable, but every one of God’s is infallibly sure. The writer can testify that after forty years of Christian experience, in his travels around this earth, he has never met with a single person who trusted God and found that His promises mocked him.
At the close of his long life Joshua said unto Israel, “ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you: all are come to pass unto you” ( Joshua 23:14).
So, too, acknowledged Solomon: “Blessed be the Lord that hath given rest unto His people Israel according to all that He promised: there hath not failed one word” ( 1 Kings 8:56). “Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee” ( Psalm 50:15).
That is a promise which every person may test for himself. We can personally bear emphatic witness that many times have we put that word to the proof and never found it wanting; and many, many others, too, can bear witness that the living God is a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God.
That is an argument—a well-attested one—which no Infidel can answer.
There is no gainsaying the fact that thousands of men and women have called upon God in the day of their trouble and were miraculously and gloriously delivered by Him. What a monument to God’s faithfulness in honoring His promises was raised by George Muller of Bristol, whose 2,000 orphans were daily fed and clothed in answer to believing prayer! In like manner shall everyone who puts his trust in the Divine promises yet receive fulfillment of that most amazing word; “when He [Christ] shall appear, we shall be like Him” ( 1 John 3:2)—perfectly conformed to His holy image! The Divine promises unmistakably bespeak their Author to be none other than “the God of all grace” ( 1 Peter 5:10). 4. Its profundity. There are books in the writer’s library which thirty years ago he read with no little pleasure and profit. Some of them he has recently re-read—with mingled disappointment and thankfulness. In the past they were helpful to him: but today they are too elementary to be of service to him. As he outgrew the clothes of childhood, so every minister of the Gospel who continues to pursue his studies assiduously will advance beyond the primers of his theological youth. Yet no matter how intensely nor for how many years he may study God’s Word, he will never advance beyond it, either spiritually or intellectually. What a laborious and thankless task would it be to read through the ablest human production twenty times!
Yet many who have read through the Bible scores of times have testified that it was more attractive and edifying to them than ever. The deeper any regenerate soul digs into the wondrous contents of the Bible, the more will he discover that it contain a boundless and fathomless ocean of Truth, and an inexhaustible mine of precious treasure.
The Bible treats of the most exalted subjects which can engage the mind of man. It rises above the merely human and temporal, and occupies it readers with God, the unseen world, eternity. Everything is shown to be related to Him whose throne is eternal in the heavens. Human conduct is viewed not so much as it appears unto their performers and fellows, but rather as it appears in the eyes of the Holy One and in the light of the final Day of reckoning. There are many things in Scripture which are above the capacity of man to have devised. Such as a Trinity of Persons in the Godhead, the Divine incarnation and virgin birth of Christ, the union of the human nature to a Divine Person, the manner in which the Holy Spirit operates upon souls. A delineation of fallen nature is given such as neither philosophy nor medical science could furnish; the secret workings of the heart are exposed in a manner in which no analysis of the self-styled “psychiatrists” could supply. Parts of human history are chronicled not for the purpose of magnifying man but to show how far the human race has departed from God, and what obstacles stand in the way of recovery to holiness and happiness. Heaven and the everlasting bliss of the redeemed are portrayed not in a manner to gratify curios ity, still less to appeal unto the corruptions of the natural man, but to that place into which nothing that defiles can enter.
The profundity of its teaching appears throughout the pages of the Sacred Volume. The origin of sin, the fall of man, the federal relation of Adam to his posterity, the transmission of his own nature to all his descendants, the consistency of man’s freedom with God’s sovereignty, his total depravity with his accountability, the justification of a believing sinner by the imputed righteousness of Christ, his union to Him as a member of His mystical body admit of no philosophical explanation. They defy intellectual dissection and cannot be mapped out so as to show their precise points of contact or mode of union with each other. They are not reducible to a system of “common sense,” but rather are presented as awful and insoluble mysteries.
They possess depths which no man can sound and heights which none can scale. Yet so far from stumbling the reverent student of the Bible, those very mysteries are just what he expects to find in a book written by the Most High. They are designed to humble the arrogance of man, by a demonstration of his intellectual limitations, and should cause him to exclaim, “O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” ( Romans 11:33). 5. Its simplicity. Here is a remarkable phenomenon: that combined with real profundity there is the utmost simplicity. Here again we find the same thing characterizing the Word of God as appears in His works of creation: while there is much that is occult, yet there is much more that is plain and obvious. Though there be hidden prophecies and difficult doctrines, yet on all practical matters and points of duty the Scriptures are so clear that they may be understood by the dullest minds. What is more explicit than the precepts? “The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” ( Psalm 19:7). Though there be things in the Bible which are sufficient to confound the proudest efforts of human reason, yet it does not, as to its general tenor, require either genius or erudition to grasp its terms, but is adapted to the level of the unsophisticated. Since its contents are of universal concern, they are presented in language suited to the capacity of all. That which concerns man’s temporal well-being and everlasting felicity is written so distinctly that the wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err therein. Though there be depths which no leviathan can swim, yet the babe in Christ may safely wade in its refreshing streams.
Though the Bible is full of majesty, yet the naked Truth itself is presented in a manner suited to the meanest capacity. God graciously accommodates Himself to our limitations, setting forth His mighty power under such a figure as the baring of His arm, and represents Heaven unto His people as “the Father’s house” in which are many mansions. Its very unaffectedness is perfectly suited to the gravity of its Author. Its penmen employed not the “enticing words of man’s wisdom,” but wrote “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” The Bible is not written in the style of the “classics”: there is an entire absence of any appearance of art. Take the four Gospels.
Their obvious design is to magnify the Redeemer, yet they never resort to the usual method of elaborate praise. There is a plain statement of His virtuous life, yet no eulogizing of His perfections. His most gracious works are plainly recorded, and no attempt is made to heighten their effect. His wondrous miracles are chronicled as matters of fact, to speak for themselves, no comment being passed upon them, no note of admiration affixed to them. They are sufficient to suitably impress our minds, without any remarks from the narrators. In all of this the candid mind will perceive the signature of Truth, an ungarnished account of events which actually took place. 6. Its impartiality. To fully appreciate this striking feature of the Bible, the reader needs to cast his mind back to the conditions prevailing in society during the centuries when it was written. Women were then the mere chattel of men, slavery was extensively practiced, and with the utmost rigor, while kings reigned with the most despotic sway. Yet the teachings of Holy Writ are without the least bias, requiring obedience to their imperial edicts from all classes alike. So far from being written to keep the oppressed in awe and subjection, rulers and ruled are the subjects of its authoritative commands. Kings and subjects are bound by the same laws, liable to the same punishments, encouraged by the same promises. God’s Word declares, “there is no difference, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” ( Romans 3:22,23); while it also announces, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” ( Romans 10:13).
The Gospel of Christ is designed for no privileged class, but is to be preached to “every creature” ( Mark 16:15). It does not prescribe one way of salvation for the rich and another for the poor: rather does it affirm on the one hand, “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!” ( Mark 10:23), and on the other, “God hath chosen the poor of the world” ( James 2:5). There is no toadying to the scholar or sage: “Thou has hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes” ( Matthew 11:25).
Husbands are bidden to “love their wives as their own bodies” ( Ephesians 5:28), and masters are enjoined to treat their servants in manner which comports with the fact that they, too, have a Master in Heaven with whom “there is no respect of persons” ( Ephesians 6:9).
No such declaration as the following was ever coined by an impostor: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” ( Galatians 3:28). 7. Its comprehensiveness. God’s Word is a compendious and complete Rule of Life, so that we may be “thoroughly furnished unto all good works” ( 2 Timothy 3:17). Every truth in it is designed to influence our character and conduct. It contains full and explicit instructions for all our relative duties. No case has ever occurred, or ever will, for which adequate provision has not been made in its invaluable treasury. Here are directions suited to any situation in which we may find ourselves. Whether its reader be young or old, male or female, rich or poor, illiterate or learned, he may find that which will supply all his need. That any should read it without receiving any benefit therefrom is due alone to his own vanity or perversity.
His duty and his danger are plainly marked out as though it had been written for him alone! Its very fullness proclaims its Author: it is a revelation and communication from the Infinite One. Its contents have supplied material for thousands of books and matter for millions of sermons.
The Bible is more than a book: it is a library. Its history covers a period of 4,000 years. Its prophecies extend to literally dozens of nations. Its teachings respect good and evil, God and man, time and eternity. It makes known how He is to be worshipped acceptably. It informs us how His blessing may be secured upon the home. It reveals its secrets of health and longevity. Here is milk for babes, meat for the strong, medicine for the sick, relief for the weary, consolation for the dying. The particular experience of every believer is so vividly delineated therein that whoever reads it aright may discover, by His grace, his precise state and degree of progress. In the Bible is stored up more true wisdom, which has endured the trials of the centuries, than the sum total of thinking done by men since the day of human history down to the present hour. Of all the books in the world the Bible alone can rightly be said to be comprehensive and complete. It needs no addendum. It has been truly affirmed, “If every book but the Bible were destroyed, not a single spiritual truth would be lost” (Torrey).
The comprehensiveness and fullness of the Scriptures is yet another of their innumerable evidences which demonstrate their Divine inspiration.